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Evening of Aloha

Ashland's own hula school, Ka Pi'o O Ke Anuenue, will offer a big "mahalo" — or thank-you — to the community during its annual fundraiser, Evening of Aloha, at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at the Unitarian Fellowship, 87 Fourth St.

The event will feature dancing, live music by Hawaiian band Ha'ena and a screening of "Journey to Honaunau," a film that documents the school's 2011 trip to perform at the 50th-anniversary celebration of Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park on the island of Hawaii.

The trip was possible with donations from more than 40 Rogue Valley businesses and contributions from the community. The school's director, Andrea Luchese, and 20 students represented Ashland at the cultural festival.

A portion of Saturday's show will feature hula dances presented in an ancient style — accompanied by a chanter and percussionist.

"It gives the audience a glimpse of what hula was like in Hawaii before Western contact," says Luchese. "The hulas and chants for this show retell stories from the Pele legend, an epic saga of Hawaiian mythology."

The show also showcases the modern style of hula, which reflects the passage of time and how hula has evolved through other cultures, she says.

The modern dances will be accompanied by Ha'ena. The band draws from the roots of traditional Hawaiian standards, along with such contemporary recording artists as Hapa, Keali'i Reichel, Barefoot Natives and Te Vaka.

Admission is by a donation of $5 to $10 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Houston's Custom Framing & Fine Art in Ashland. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Call 541-482-7033.

Director Andrea Luchese stands in front of hula school Ka Pi'o O Ke Anuenue. - Photo courtesy of Poki Cavener